Monday, March 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Christopher Walken!

Christopher Walken turns 65 years-old today.


There is only so much that one can do in popular culture without crossing paths with the iconic Christopher Walken! The former dancer, stage actor, drama stand-out and master of dialog delivery is now largely known for his outlandish comedy characterizations. Long may you live Walken!

"Starring Christopher Walken"

Ready to Rock? The Savage Guitar Sound of THE SWORD!


Insanely Loud return to Guitar from THE SWORD

One of the most fun releases so far this year is born tomorrow (April 1). Shock and Surprise - it's a metal album!

Austin's The Sword
(Kemado Records) is one of the hardest rockin' bands going and the young four-piece has proven itself to be most skilled. Playing screaming guitar, powerful bass and pounding drums - the band finds some way to avoid the foolish grunting that characterizes "modern" metal. The Sword is a guitar cult and a refreshing throwback...

(the band's second full-length album) is a truly refreshing homage - a guitar metal church, if you will, to the accomplishment's to bands like (the original) Black Sabbath and great yester-year records like Metallica's 1984 release: Ride the Lightning. Get out your air guitars!

Fire Lances Of The Ancient Hyperzephyrians:

04.01.08 - Newport, UK - TJ's *
04.02.08 - Portsmouth, UK - Wedgewood Rooms *
04.03.08 - London, UK - Underworld *
04.04.08 - Colchester, UK - Arts Centre *
04.14.08 - Lubbock, TX - Jake's Sports Center
04.15.08 - Albuquerque, NM - Launchpad
04.16.08 - Phoenix, AZ - The Brick House
04.17.08 - San Diego, CA - The Casbah
04.18.08 - Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theater
04.19.08 - San Francisco, CA - Slim's
04.21.08 - Portland, OR - Berbati's
04.22.08 - Seattle, WA - Neumo's
04.24.08 - Boise, ID - Nuerolux
04.25.08 - Salt Lake City, UT - Club Vegas
04.26.08 - Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
04.28.08 - Wichita, KS - Barley Corn's
04.29.08 - Oklahoma City, OK - Conservatory

* w/ Saviours, Black Cobra
w/ Children, Slough Feg

East coast tour in May
The Bonnaroo Music Festival in June

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Dig your teeth into these incredible Mashes!

Crazy, As She Goes - The Raconteurs versus Gnarls Barkley
and "Steady as She Goes"

Drop It Like Its A Whole Lot - Snoop Dogg versus Led Zeppelin
"Drop It Like It's Hot" and "Whole Lotta Love"

Whole Lotta Sabbath (Led Zeppelin v Sabbath)

Wax Audio rocks "Whole Lotta Love" and "Drop It Like It's Hot"

Cross It Remix (Jose Gonzalez vs Missy Elliott)
Emancipator stirs up "Crosses" and "Cross It"

Icky Thump with Whole Lotta Love (White Stripes and Led Zeppelin)
DJ Zebra (France) mixes "Icky Thump" and "Whole Lotta Love"

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Running in Boston (Funny Cult Video!)

VIDEO FILES : This is just too much!

In My Continuing Effort to Bring You Great Things...


Today's video is making it's rounds very quickly here in Boston and I just wanted to share with the rest of you. It's two of our locals preparing for the big race. Think Reno 911 crossed with the Boston Marathon. This is what you will get. If you know Boston at all, look for familiar streets, I recognized at least a half dozen. This is funny!

Recent Video - God is a DJ (best Ad ever?)

Pela's Healing Touch - the Huge 2008 Tour Resumes!

DATELINE : Rock N' Roll Recovery Room




On Friday, Feb. 29th - Pela frontman Billy McCarthy (above at left) was injured at the end of their show at Schuba's in Chicago. Following a medical evaluation of his injuries - McCarthy is said to be a slashed hand and a cut tendon in his hand. At that time it looked like the tour was a lost cause and McCarthy might need more serious surgery. My how things have changed!

NOTE FROM THE BAND: "You can't keep a good thing down. Billy has his stitches out, and new tour dates are rolling in. Almost every show has been rescheduled on 'There's No Off Switch Thing On This Tour', and we will be adding more shows throughout the next few weeks. As far as we know, tickets purchased for canceled dates can be transferred over to the new shows. Be sure to check with the clubs for more information regarding ticket exchange or refund. We hope that everyone that bought tickets will be able to make it to the new dates."

MY TAKE: Friends - Pela is one of the most enjoyable bands tour in the United States. Get in on this and find out why this injury was such a travesty. Billy McCarthy will tear his guts out on stage for you. This is fine, fine listening. - Ryan

(More to Come)

MAY 19th Rock and Roll Hotel
Washington, DC

MAY 20th Beachland Ballroom Tavern
Cleveland, OH

MAY 21st Schubas
Chicago, IL

MAY 26th Sasquatch Music Festival
George, WA

MAY 27th Doug Fir
Portland, OR

MAY 28th Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

MAY 29th Spaceland
Los Angeles, CA

MAY 31st Larimer Lounge
Denver, CO

Friday, March 28, 2008

A Mad & Faithful Telling - New Magic & a World Tour from Devotchka

"Don't Miss this One!"
Devotchka's 2008 Album Tour


DeVotchKa is a four-piece fusion band, bringing in elements of folk music from at least six countries to paint a brilliant auditory picture. The band just released their sixth album: the highly recommended "A Mad & Faithful Telling." (Seven if you count the band's heavy presence in the "Little Miss Sunshine" Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - on which they steal the show!) The March release of Mad & Faithful (on the Anti-Records label) has the band embarking on a new World tour.

DeVotchKa's Nick Urata and Jeanie Schroder

Devotchka - New World


Apr 4 - Manchester, UK
Academy 2
Apr 5 - Dublin
The Crawdaddy
Apr 6 - Glasgow, Scotland
King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Apr 7 - Newcastle Upon
Academy 2 Newcastle
Apr 8 - Birmingham, UK
Academy 2 Birmingham
Apr 9 - London
Apr 11 - Rotterdam, Drenthe
Apr 12 - Amsterdam
Apr 13 - Paris
Cafe de la Danse
Apr 14 - Zurich
Abart Music Club
Apr 15 - Istanbul
Garaj Istanbul
Apr 16 - Copenhagen
Apr 17 - Berlin
Apr 18 - Koln
Apr 19 - Brussels
Ancienne Belgigue
Apr 20 - Nijmegen, Netherlands
Apr 26 - Indio, CA
Coachella Music Festival
Apr 28 - San Francisco, CA
Apr 29 - Eugene, OR
MacDonald Theater
Apr 30 - Portland, OR
The Wonder Ballroom
May 2 - Vancouver, British Columbia
Richards on Richards
May 3 - Seattle
Showbox SoDo
May 4 - Boise, ID
The Big Easy
May 7 - Minneapolis, MN
First Ave
May 8 - Milwaukee, WI
Turner Theater
May 9 - Chicago
The Vic Theater
May 10 - Indianapolis, IN
The Vogue
May 11 - Nashville
The Mercy Lounge
May 13 - Atlanta, GA
The Variety Playhouse
May 14 - Asheville, NC
The Orange Peel
May 15 - Richmond, VA
Toad’s Place
May 16 - Washington, D.C.
9:30 Club
May 17 - Philadelphia, PA
The Fillmore/TLA
May 18 - BOSTON (WERS show)
The Paradise Rock Club
Terminal 5
May 21 - Pittsburgh, PA
Diesel Club Lounge
May 22 - Newport, KY
Southgate House
May 23 - St. Louis, Missouri
The Pageant
May 24 - Omaha, NE

Web / Myspace / Wikipedia

DeVotchka Joins Anti-Records (Nov 2007)

Thursday, March 27, 2008




7M3's Jason Ross

Seven Mary Three are most widely known for their platinum debut American Standard featuring the #1 Rock radio hit “Cumbersome,” which still receives more than 500 plays on popular radio each week. The group started out small with Mammoth Records then grew to Atlantic Records, settling now again with an independent, Bellum Records. This new direction serves them well. This is the best music the band has released in close to a decade!

The new album from 7M3 is called Day & Nightdriving. It's a great record to pop in when you go for a drive. I've been playing the record for about two weeks and have had no fewer than four people this week ask me what the music was. Everyone enjoyed it.

The album works best on two levels. A handful of the tracks are bridges to the past while the remainder are definitely on the path to the band's future. On some level, all the songs work. Probably most enjoyable for me is that you can almost hear and feel the constraints falling away from the band... They are doing what they want to do. The spirit and creativity here really surprised me - the band is living up to its potential. And sadly, that is something you don't see often enough. This record would make a fabulous addition to most any modern or acoustic rock collection.


ratings based on scale of 1 - 5.
A rating about 3 is very good. 4 is Exceptional.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008



Midnight Movies

Midnight Movies' Gena Olivier

LA's Midnight Movies follow their sophomore LP "Lion The Girl" with the Nights EP this month (in stores now) on New Line Records (Albert Hammond Jr and Robbers on High Street). The EP album is a wonderful showcase of the band's capabilities - giving them the chance to shine during a cover of "Nights in White Satin" in both English in French. (During this great cover, singer Gina Olivier leaves the keys to play drums!)

In my eyes, however, the real gems on this album are Midnight Movies original tracks remixed by two of the most skilled technicians in music. Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist and Boston-native Nick Zinner does a great job remixing the MM track "Souvenirs;" while the unbelievable James Iha (A Perfect Circle, former Smashing Pumpkins) submits another insane remix.

All in all, Midnight Movies' latest proves out to be one of the finest EP releases so far this year. It's a true must-have for independent rock fans everywhere. Here, friends, is the James Iha remixed track, "Patient Eyes" ....



Midnight Movies myspace
New Line Records home

Monday, March 24, 2008

Everclear Returns to Boston

There was a point in the Nineties where there was no bigger band than EVERCLEAR. Art Alexakis' band returns to Boston Tuesday for a free concert. Don't miss this one!

Singer-songwriter Alexakis and the new Everclear

The Free Everclear Concert on Tuesday Night is a Boston event - this group has been offering free shows to Bostonites the last couple months. This show at Ned Devine's in Boston's Fanueil Hall is absolutely free but it will fill up and attendance will be based on arrival time.

Here's how to get your free passes: 1) RSVP tonight or tomorrow on the webpage. If you are new to the page, you will have to register but this takes just a few seconds and is free. 2) Arrive Early. The doors open at 8pm. Be in line before that. Not everyone will get into this show. 3) Arriving early has it's rewards: enjoy the opening act: Boston's own Street Credit.

Art Alexakis - I Will Buy You A New Life (acoustic)
solo performance - Houston, TX 10/10/2003

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tonight in Boston - The Finest Local Acoustic Music!

The Lilypad: Inman Square - Cambridge



Tom Thumb & Twain
10 pm Tonight in Cambridge

Two of the most talented names in the Boston acoustic and folk rock scenes in one place - TONIGHT!

Andy Arch aka Tom Thumb
leaves Boston tonight on tour!

Tom Thumb - Asleep in the Sawmill
from the hot new album: The Taxidermist

Twain - In The Garden

10 PM (Second Show)
The Lilypad, Inman Square - Cambridge, MA
Venue Webpage / Map


The New Single from Pop Levi


New Material from One of 2007's Best Artists:

One to Watch: POP LEVI

"Never Never Love (the Pink Enemy Mix)" - it's the latest thing from Los Angeles from music genius, Pop Levi. I am a fan of the man's ever-evolving and expansive work. His stuff ranges from the electronic (as with today's material) to sloshy Seventies guitar rock. He really is an individual.

Don't Know this Artist? - Here's More: In 2007, Levi released "The Return to Form Black Magick Party" - a record I would name to this webpage's Top 15 list for the Year. The Black Magick Party release has been in heavy rotation at my house ever since. Predict the Unexpected from Pop Levi. Here is the very latest material sent to me by his people this week.....


Pop Levi - Never Never Love (Pink Enemy mix)

Track from last year's must-have album:
Pop Levi - Flirting

Myspace / Videos!

Friday, March 21, 2008

ALOUD - Fan The Fury (2008)

DATELINE: BOSTON - Hot Album Release

For those who like their rock:

One to Watch: Boston's Aloud

Mick Murray photograph

Rock enthusiasts rejoice. An emerging new sound from Boston is helping make their mark in the scene. This week Aloud released a highly recommended new record, "Fan the Fury" - which shows the band performing tracks on opposite ends of the rock spectrum. I am already a fan. The band had a huge record release party last night with Radio America (who I will be writing about very soon - another great group finalizing their new record.)

Aloud's music formula: The raw, Seventies sound... The joy of rock, the celebration of noise and explosion of spirit and wrap it up into a 2008 package. This is what's happening in Boston.

Aloud is Henry Beguiristain, Jen de la Osa, Roy Fontaine and Ross Lohr.

Myspace / Web

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

TED LEO live in NYC (2005)


Nothing says spring time like rock and Ted Leo.
Live Recording: 8/25/05

Nothing beats a Ted Leo live show

Any way you slice it Ted Leo puts on an excellent live show and now you can grab this awesome recording for your collection. It's August 2005's South Street Seaport Music Festival from New York's Pier 17 (where there were live shows all summer long - but this one with Tokyo Police Club and the DC Snipers, was definitely one of the best performances of the season!)

Static of the Gods at Bill's Bar - Friday Night!


Boston's Static of the Gods rock out Friday at Bill's Bar.

band artwork by Morgan Sheffield

FRIDAY NIGHT: - $10 - 8:30pm BILL'S BAR (18+) 9 Landsdowne Street, Boston

Static of the Gods is back from tour and ready to perform before a large hometown audience. Here's a hot video and a sneak peak of the album [ARTICLE].

Limited Edition (hand-numbered) Static of the Gods original artwork lithographs for the show will be available only during this special evening!

Appearing with Static of the Gods at Bill's Bar are The Morning, Retrosleeper, and Vivian Darkbloom. This is a great Friday night lineup!

The RSL has you covered.
I am giving away TWO PAIRS of passes to this 18+ show.
At $10 apiece - that's a $20 value!

Email me to win. Drop me your Name and Telephone number.
(No information will be shared - for confirmation purposes only.)
Winners must be able to attend Friday night's show.
Passes are non-transferrable.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Unannounced New Release: The Raconteurs "Consolers of the Lonely" will emerge on 3/25


It's true, all true. The band has done no interviews and there is absolutely no press on this at all. This is an Emerging Story!

The unstoppable Jack White has proven his mettle once again by doing something completely unexpected. Rumors swirling about yesterday that Jack White appeared in a Warner Brothers executive office with unexpected completed and mastered Raconteurs recordings in hand appear to be true - at least in substance.

In a speculative report on - there was a definite sense of urgency portrayed in the Raconteurs record release move. Jack White's request to the label was to get this release out as quickly as possible - in an unheard of less than two week's time... (White has since commented on the site that rushing the album to press isn't the reaction to knowledge of a specific leak. But, the rush clearly is a preventative measure against leaks. And certainly a safeguard following the advanced leaking of the Raconteurs' first album "Broken Boy Soldiers" as well as White Stripes material last year on a Chicago radio station last year. [ARTICLE])

The surprise release of material is a clear echo of what Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor did recently by releasing a collection of albums online with little to no notice whatsoever. ([ARTICLE])

Statements on their webpage and on the Raconteurs myspace substantiate and prove out the rumors. The world will get 14 new tracks from the Raconteurs on March 25. The title of the album is "Consolers of the Lonely" and the material will be available on record, CD and electronically.

The Raconteurs

Consolers of the Lonely

The Raconteurs are happy to announce that in one week’s time their second album, entitled "Consolers Of The Lonely", will be available EVERYWHERE Tuesday, March 25th.

"Album" meaning: full length vinyl, CD and digital formats; and "everywhere" meaning: local mom and pop Indie retailers, corporate superstores, supermarkets, iTunes, Amazon, the band’s own website and any other location that could get the record up and going this quickly (some places couldn’t move this fast, so they will join in as soon as they can).

It contains 14 new recordings and is being released globally on Third Man Records in conjunction with our marketing/distribution partners, XL Recordings and Warner Brothers Records.

The album was mastered and completed in the first week of March. It was then taken immediately to a vinyl pressing plant. Then to a CD pressing plant. Then preparations to sell it digitally began. March 25th became the soonest date to have it available in EVERY FORMAT AT ONCE. The band have done no interviews or advertisements for this record before this announcement.

The purpose: to get the album to the fans as soon as possible and as we promised. We wanted to get this record to fans, the press, radio, etc., all at the EXACT SAME TIME so that no one has an upper hand on anyone else regarding it’s availability, reception or perception.

With this release, The Raconteurs are forgoing the usual months of lead time for press and radio set up, as well as forgoing the all important "first week sales". We wanted to explore the idea of releasing an album everywhere at once and THEN marketing and promoting it thereafter. The Raconteurs would rather this release not be defined by it’s first weeks sales, pre-release promotion, or by someone defining it FOR YOU before you get to hear it.

Another purpose was to also allow people to have their own choice as to exactly which format they would like to hear the album in IMMEDIATELY, rather than having to wait for their favorite format to become available. The band are also not releasing any version of this record that contains bonus tracks. Musically this album will be the same as the band created it no matter what format it is purchased in (The sound quality of each format however, is a different story. The Raconteurs recommend hearing it on vinyl, but the choice is of course up to the listener).

The band also prefer that fans buy the album as a whole instead of breaking up the tracks, but until iTunes and other digital services allows bands to release their albums with the option of NOT breaking it up, it will be sold in that fashion on those particular sites. On the band’s website however, the album will be sold in its entirety as an mp3 at 320kb bit rate. Also in Japan, fans will be able to download the record via their mobile phones, as that is how a majority of recorded music is consumed there.

The reason we are announcing this release one week ahead of time is because of retail pre-ordering and stocking, information about this album’s imminent release was bound to come to light and could be confusing to fans. Also in the event that the record leaks, we didn’t want this method of release to be seen as a REACTION to such a leak. It’s not. The actual worst thing about a leak is the usual poor sound quality, akin to watching a movie on a wristwatch instead of in a theater. Which for the album’s creators is a bit of a letdown, but again, it is completely up to the listener.

There will be a video up on the internet for the first single, "Salute Your Solution", on the 25th as well, provided it gets edited in time. We just filmed it the other day!

We hope not to confuse anyone with too many options, or deny them the formats that they like best. The Raconteurs feel very strongly that music has worth and should be treated as such. Thank you to all those who respect music in this fashion, and thank you to our label partners for working with us to get this album to fans in as many formats as possible all at once.

Thank you, and we hope that you enjoy "Consolers Of The Lonely".

photograph by Stephen Berkman

The Raconteurs live on the BBC's Radio 2

The Raconteurs - Steady as She Goes
The Raconteurs - It Ain't Easy

My Take: Get to the store on March 25th. Do it. You don't want to miss out on this one.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St Patrick's Day from the Dropkick Murphys!


Today's a day to wear your green.

I am confident that time will prove that Boston-area natives the Dropkick Murphys will rank amongst the all-time favorite bands to emerge from the city. They sell out shows everywhere they go and take their Boston pride with them on the road. The Dropkicks have written songs for the city and its people, for the favorite sons - The Red Sox, and for the movies filmed in Boston. For the time being these journeymen will be traveling through Europe where the Dropkicks threaten to make thousands of new fans. But first there is a sold-out St. Patrick's day home stand this week. The hometown definitely feels the love.

With last week's release of the special "Irish Green" limited edition of "The Meanest of Times" fans can get closer to the band than ever. The set includes a DVD video with " the making of" material and the massive CD adds bonus songs that the original version didn't have. There a a massive 20 songs now - making this the greatest Murphys release to date. It's in stores now - and a must on this holiday. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St Paddy's Day from the Dropkicks!

Ltd Edition: One CD with bonus songs + One DVD
highly recommended!

The Dropkick Murphys
Web / Myspace

Bonus from the Boston Globe:

James Lynch of the Dropkicks
Shares his favorite Boston pubs

Happy St Patrick's Day
Irish Sounds - St Paddy's Day
On the RSL - One Year Ago

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tom Thumb's Superb Album: "The Taxidermist" (2008)


Quietly, ever so quietly... there is a profound and amazing modern folk movement going on in Boston. At the heart of that revival and beauty is The best Boston Record Released to date in the young 2008. It's "The Taxidermist" by Andy Arch whose nom de guerre - Tom Thumb - serves and describes him well.

You see, Andy has a very pleasant, easy-going nature. But this appearance belies the fact that this artist is a ferocious tiger - a quality that emerges during performances and recording. Andy performs all parts and instruments on the tracks on "The Taxidermist" with few exceptions.

They have a term for this - I believe it's called genius... (But I won't say that because it would upset Andy.) I saw this first hand when Tom played one of the RSL Live Music Showcases in Cambridge. (All the performers were great - my jaw was on the floor half the night.) The music of Tom Thumb is a an absolute feather in Boston's cap.

"The Taxidermist" gets 4.5 of 5 stars!
It's a must have record for acoustic and folk lovers! Catch these songs during the national tour (dates listed below).

ONE TO WATCH in 2008: Andy Arch is Tom Thumb

Buy "The Taxidermist"

Tom Thumb
Web / Fb / My

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Best Ad Ever? God is a DJ.

The Buzz: FINEST DEAREST rock 2008



Up and coming indie rock talent Finest Dearest (San Fran, CA) will take their show on the road in April in support of their new full-length LP (2008). The band is picking up momentum with recent appearances on WOXY's Lounge Act, NPR's Open Mic live sessions.

Finest Dearest have the kind of sound that should take them far. I zoned out on a few tracks today (one of these follows!) and knew that this was what I was going to share with you. Really promising stuff! Catch them on the 2008 Tour and pick up that Hot New Album!


FINEST DEAREST is: Josh Luke (guitar) Carly Schneider (voice), Steven Treffers (drums), Christine Bolghand (guitar), and AJ Dickerson (bass).

Myspace ~ Web

Friday, March 14, 2008

MASON PROPER - Shorthand EP (2008)

Red Hot EP: Release Date March 25th


An excellent new project from one of the
premiere indie rock bands in America

Michigan's Mason Proper are making a royal mess during their time at SxSW. It's been a busy time for them and they will have played five or six times before the week is over. The timing is perfect for the release of their newest project on March 25th -- it's the four-song "Shorthand EP" and some new videos that showcase just how good the band is live. (For those not in the know - that's really, really good.) The band made my RSL Best of List for 2007 for their very strong tour in support of last year's exceptional album, "There Is a Moth In Your Chest."

Mason Proper - Rest Up
From the Shorthand EP
(currently unreleased!)

Mason Proper - My My Bad Fruit

From the "There Is a Moth in Your Chest LP
(highly recommended)

If you're in Austin: Mason Proper plays the Dovecote Records SxSW Party at the Jackalope tomorrow 3/15. It's a solid day of Music: Trevor Guiliani at 12 Noon, Tim Williams at 1, Mason Proper at 2pm, Ed Harcourt at 3pm. Details on the Dovecote Records website.

Pick-Up the EP on March 25th:
Mason Proper Web / Myspace

RSL 2007 Interview with Mason Proper
Part I / Part II

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tracks of the Week - Five Sweet Songs

New Selections from the RSL:

I share 5 songs from my collection
that made me go Gonzo this week...

Hunter S Thompson self-portrait
"On the Road to Tijuana"

It's kind of hard to argue that Nine Inch Nails aren't the hottest band in the world this week. Trent Reznor released albums worth of material unannounced - suddenly unveiling his plan to give away one record and sell the rest of the "Ghosts" collection dirt cheap. The not-so-cheap mega version boxed set which costs something like $300 is completely sold out. (So I guess it doesn't make much difference how you release your stuff if you're Nine Inch Nails.) In the process, the demand for all things NIN crashed the computers and downed the servers setup for just that purpose.

Evidently the world of music is changing before our eyes. The big music labels should learn from the successes of NIN and Radiohead - and not try to keep the dead monster alive.

Speaking of Radiohead, here's a great little cover of Fake Plastic Trees by KT Tunstall. I was pawing through my music collection looking for great KT Tunstall tracks this week in auditory preparation for my David Ford write-up, which appeared earlier today. Both Ford and Tunstall use delay pedals to create an insanely cool sound up on stage (video of David Ford is here). The technology allows them to accomplish feats solo artists couldn't even dream of before this tool was invented. To my knowledge, Tunstall doesn't use it on this particular track - which I listened to and knew immediately I was going to share with you this week.

I got out of work pretty late the other night and switched over from the radio to the CD player. I had forgotten that I had Kings of Leon loaded and ready to go. Listening to the "Aha Heartbreak" album at high volumes is a great way to forget whatever it was you didn't want to think about anymore. Several head bobs and a traffic light later and I was on my way - wherever I was going. They should make this stuff into a potent cologne.

A little levity and a little hard rock are in order. I don't know anyone who can bring 'em both like Rocker/Producer Butch Walker. One of my favorite covers of "Since U Been Gone" is this impromptu live version in front of a rowdy, fun-lovin' crowd. I will let the song speak for itself:

Butch Walker - Since U Been Gone
(Kelly Clarkson cover)

I sat back the other day and realized that I have already seen Southern California's Cold War Kids about five or maybe six times live. (The last time I saw them was back in December and I'm getting a little antsy...) Each show is memorable and there are slews of people made into die-hard fans each time. There is a beautiful reverent quality to their songs and presentations. What I mean to say is that the group is having fun while producing some truly remarkable and sincere songs. They are posing for cameras or wishing they were somewhere else. What you get is an original and unpretentious performance each night.. An amazing snapshot, a memory or road marker of where you were in your life when you saw them. That's pretty special.

Here is probably the best Cold War Kids cover song of there's in my entire collection (I have all released material and a number of live shows and some rarities.) - it's the band's exceptional version of John Lennon's "Well, Well, Well" recorded live on March 23rd, 2007 to close the band's show in Atlanta. I just gave you a song that made your week, too.

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RSL Myspace / RSL Facebook* (* brand new!)

Stage Presence: DAVID FORD

EASTBOURNE, UK: A single voice rises over the din...

An incredible stage presence!

David Ford: Fine Modern Solo Performer

It's difficult to explain: When David Ford performs from beneath a browed hat, his raggedy pants and his furrowed brow and sunken cheeks take on a life all their own. His voice is enormous but at times impossibly small; his persona is sincere. He's up there on stage all alone and the stage, suddenly, seems so large.

Having seen David Ford recently open up for emerging star Ingrid Michaelson, I saw him steal the show while performing in less-than desirable sound circumstances. The show was in the Paradise Lounge and there was house problems with static and feedback. Not good when all there is up on stage is your own voice, your equipment and nothing else. Still, David Ford shined - and stole the show.

The Eastbourne, UK, solo performer uses technology to capture bits and pieces of his performances on stage and feeds them back in perfect time. He essentially plays in a band of David Fords with the use of a loop pedal. (He plays the piano - locks it in; records a back vocal - locks it in; picks up the guitar, ditto...) We've seen this before with the beautiful and talented KT Tunstall. David Ford is a master of the technology and it suits his style to stand alone before a sea of (always) new fans.

David Ford performs "Go To Hell" on stage:

Stockton Georgian - UK - October 11th, 2007

And this is how it sounds on stage....
The music video without the setup:

"Go To Hell"

David Ford - Go To Hell mp3

BOSTON APPEARANCE: On his way through the states this week, David returns to Boston on Friday (March 14th) to play a very small, intimate show at TT the Bears with Bell X1 and Boston's own This Car Up. It's a night sponsored by WERS.

DAVID FORD: Myspace / Web

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Oaks release the Beautiful "Songs for Waiting" (2008)


An absolutely gorgeous album - Five of Five Stars!

The OaKs - Songs for Waiting

The OaKs are: Matthew Antolick (drums, marimba, vibraphone, percussion, electronics, some keys); Ryan Costello (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, pianica, organs and keyboards, lyrics); Jeremy Siegel (bass, trombone and some keys, mandolin); Melissa Reyes (vocals, accordian, bells, percussion, some keys); Greg Willson (guitars, saxophone and vocals); and Tim Cocking (Wurlitzer electric piano, accordian, synths, organ, bells, trumpet, vocals)

MAGIC IN THE MAKING: The evolution of Florida's The OaKs has been breathtaking. In two year's time I've seen the band grow into one of the nation's most talented folk rock duos. Ryan Costello and Matthew Antolick were at the core of something small, intense and moving. It's hard to believe, but the OaKs have gotten even better. Over the last year the band blossomed into a prospering six-piece dynamo - with each member a talented musician in their own right. The proof of the band's efforts are now available...

The OaKs just released a remarkable, must-have album; "Songs for Waiting." This collection of ten previously unreleased songs is easily the most exquisite, beautiful record of 2008. The songs are rich, layered stories about discovery. The creativity and performances are matched only by the clean production values. This record is a winner!

A most complementary comparison for this recording is the equally brilliant Medeski, Scofield, Martin and Wood 2006 album, "Out Louder." I daresay that with the exception of the unbeatable MSMW track, "Tequila and Chocolate" (*incredible) - the OaKs may have the upper hand in this two-record comparison!

"Songs for Waiting" is a triumphant interweaving of winning song-writing, instrumentation and voice. Catch this band on tour at South-by-Southwest this week where they are sure to make hundreds of new fans. Look for this album on the RSL year-end "Best of" List!

current OaKs dates

Mar 12 - Austin SxSW
The Wave @ 12 Noon

Mar 13 - Austin SxSW
Sony’s Vintage @ 3:30pm

Mar 14 - Austin SxSW
Pangea’s Patio @ 5pm

Mar 15 - Austin SxSW
Spiro’S @ 2pm

Apr 4 - Tampa, FL
Tampa CD Release Party @ Crowbar

Apr 18 - Gainesville, FL
@ The Atlantic

May 17 - Tampa, FL
WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave Festival

The OaKs
Web / Myspace

>> Streaming Audio <<

- The OaKs on RSL in 2007 -
"Songs that Speak, Stories that Sing"

Sunday, March 09, 2008

NEW RELEASE: The Black and White Years - A Stellar album!

AUSTIN, TX: home field advantage

A Can't Miss Artist for this Year's SxSW Music Festival

The Black and White Years release an amazing album

HOT NEW RELEASE: Austin's Black and White Years play the role of hometown hero this week, taking the stage at South-by-Southwest Music Festival. It's a time of triumph - the band has grown so much over the last year - having taken last year's South-by-Southwest (2007) festival by storm they then played two of world's largest and most prestigious music events going - in NYC (CMJ) and in Europe (MIDEM). They recorded a new album, added a drummer and are ready to, again, take SxSW by force!

March signals the release of The Black and White Years self-titled debut LP. The record was produced by the Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison who took the promising band under his wing and helped them create and release a stellar record here in 2008. Here's my 2007 interview with the band (I knew then that they were headed for good things....) Included in the Q&A is the story of Jerry's involvement in the album and a lot of important information - like how they came up with their band name.

The new album embraces the two sides of the tortured B&WY beast; ragged indie rock and smooth dance beat hooks used to punctuate the tracks. The record triumphs for these reasons on "A Wetter Sea", great reworked versions of "Power to Change" and "Everyone," as well as incredible new songs: just listen to "My Broken Hand!" The trend to mix beats and drums has punctuated independent rock recently (it's a good throwback) on releases from Ghostland Observatory and Of Montreal. And, it definitely works for B&WY on this release.

One of my favorite things? Listen for the changes in "My Broken Hand" - most impressive.

All of the songs are highly recommended, but not all of the tracks are frontal assaults. Some of the tracks are more paced and layered. "Lighten up the Letters" and "A Dense History" - for instance, are a thinking man's songs. The quick-beat guitar and bass single,"Write in a Book" sounds like a Cowboy song recorded on a Norwegian Roller Coaster.

All of this should serve to underscore the fact that this is truly one of the premiere independent rock bands (a fun-loving live band) during a period of great creativity. If you are Austin this week for the festival, do not miss them!

BUY THE ALBUM: There are currently limited numbers of the record available before SxSW. According to this webpage, they only have 15 copies right now. Buy one!

Mar 11 - Austin
Art Disaster at Beauty Bar

Mar 12 - Austin
Mayor’s SXSW Welcoming Party

Mar 12 - Austin
The Red Bull Party at the Moon Tower

Mar 13 - Austin
SXSW - Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room

Mar 18 - Chicago
The Rockit Bar

Mar 20 - Washington, D.C.
The Tattoo Bar

Friday, March 07, 2008

Scottish Disco Genius Calvin Harris - AIR AMERICA

On A Trans-Atlantic Flight:


Calvin Harris takes a Spin through the States

COMING TO AMERICA: I shared Calvin Harris with you last year (RSL Top 40 Albums of 2007) and now the talented mix artist is hitting the states for a very short tour. The dates are extremely limited, but there is an expectation that Mr. Harris will play two festivals (with Coachella figuring prominently) which will expose his talent to tens of thousands of music-loving Americans.

There's a lot to like. The "I Created Disco" album is one guilty pleasure after the next.

28th - Miami at the Raleigh Hotel
29th Noon - Miami at the Ultra Music Festival
29th Night - Miami at Poplife @ White Room

23th - LA at the Henry Fonda Theater
24th - San Francisco at Popscene
26th - Indio, CA at the Coachella Music Festival
28th - NYC at the Bowery Ballroom

Sigur Ros - the "Heima" Original Movie


Heima means Homeland in Icelandic

Sigur Rós could be the world's pre-eminent experimental band - they are certainly the most popular band doing what they do - outside the confines of the United States. A new movie, "Heima" captures the beautiful music and creativity of this important Icelandic band. The movie, directed by Dean Deblois (Lilo & Stitch), is loosely based in the documentary format and it's free and available for download! DVD copies are also available.

Heima's music is accomplished and the filmmaking, something special.
This is Sigur Rós' first ever film, filmed over two weeks during the summer of 2006 when the band undertook a series of free, unannounced concerts in Iceland. They hauled 40-plus people round 15 locations to the furthest flung corners of their homeland for their debut venture into live film, to create something, well, inspirational.

On their way, they went to ghost towns, outsider art shrines, national parks, small community halls and the absolute middle-of-nowhere-ness of the highland wilderness, as well as playing the largest gig of their career (and in Icelandic history) at their homecoming Reykjavik show.

Besides demonstrating Sigur Rós' tremendous talent, the film does a great job at capturing the Icelandic landscape and its people. We share in their art and celebrate the music. Get ready to be impressed!